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Online Dating: A Survival Guide

Updated: Jun 22, 2022

It is hard denying that we are well within a digital era that has changed how we have normally gone about many social aspects of our lives, including dating. If you're anything like myself, you have imagined bumping into someone in a store, at a gathering, or wherever else and surprisingly hitting it off.

Nowadays, many of us are finding it much harder meet new people in these social settings, whether that be from lack of time or even the ongoing pandemic. Luckily, there are online platforms that still allow for these social connections and the chance for something more.

However, it can be tricky getting started and feeling confident navigating these platforms. Here are a few tips to help ease you in and navigate

your way through the online dating world.

Find an app/website that works for you: Each platform may claim to be the best at connecting people to their ideal partners, but not all dating sites and apps are the same. I would suggest looking for an app that targets the demographic you are interested in.

Certain targets can range from young adults to older adults, those looking for something casual to those looking for long-term, or even target certain religions or professions. If you are ever uncertain, always look it up. I strongly suggest checking the reviews to see how current or previous users describe their experience with it.

Go into it to make friends/connections: This may seem a little counterproductive, especially if you are more interested in a long-term relationship. However, if you would like a relationship to last with someone, you'll likely have to.. well like them first. There is such a variety of personalities out there that are much more accessible online, that you may even find something you didn't know you were looking for in someone.

This doesn't mean throw away all of the ideas you have on qualities that you look for. Simply, that those qualities may help lead into friendships and good conversation that can grow into something more. This way, no one feels too pressured, you'll likely get a feel for their general demeanor and sense of humor, and things can start to feel as authentic as if you were chatting with someone in person.

Be yourself: I know what you're thinking. This one seems pretty obvious, but often this is the one thing we forget to do! Online dating isn't much different from social media. We want to put our best foot (and face) forward. This may mean only posting pictures where we are dressed to the nines, thinking a bit too carefully about each response we give, or taking on a

new personality altogether.

This may sound like a winning course in theory, but may have you putting on more of an act and may lead to feelings of rejection in the future. If you think about it, how will you know that someone likes you for you if you aren't being you?

This doesn't mean you can't post a pretty picture, but don't be afraid to add in a few laughing photos, or a casual photo of yourself on a normal day. Your dog may be cute, but more than likely the other person looking to date your dog, either. Make sure you are front and center.

In conversation, don't be afraid to talk about things you are passionate about, your dreams and goals, or even a weird shower thought you had the other day. It is a difficult task getting to understand someone's personality without necessarily being able to see their expressions and mannerisms behind the photos and text, so be yourself and let your personality show through.

Don't be afraid to keep your options open: This tip goes hand-in-hand with going into the field with the intention of making friends. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. It is understandable to want to focus on one person, and that is definitely okay!

Sometimes it may be overwhelming to try and deeply connect with multiple people at once, and it is the most important that you do whatever feels the most comfortable to you. My only suggestion is to allow yourself to chat with a few people to see who you initially click with before choosing one to focus on.

On the other hand, if that one doesn't work out, that's okay too! You are in the process of meeting many new people, and have plenty of opportunities to connect with someone.

Be safe: One of the most important tips is to make sure to be careful. One downfall to online dating is that there is always an element of mystery. Dating involves a bit of trust, which can be hard to give to a stranger you are just beginning to talk to. This becomes even harder when you haven't yet matched a physical face to a string of messages or pictures.

Some apps and websites allow for video chatting or voice calls without giving away any extra information to the other person. This can be a safer way to build more security without the risk of releasing more personal information.

If you do decide to meet with your potential partner, try and practice safety. This can be in the form of letting trusted friends or loved ones know where you are going, meeting in a public setting, or even setting clear boundaries for the other person and yourself such as knowing your drink limit in order to stay level-headed and sticking to it. All in all, trust your gut - sometimes it's a little more logical than your thinking is.

Last, but not least, have fun!

Written by Brianna Dennis-McCrory

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